Samoa schools close for a week due to increase in flu cases

Effective today, all schools (Government, Mission and Private Schools) from pre-schools to Secondary or Colleges are closed until 5 May 2023.

In its meeting this week, Cabinet approved the Special five days holiday break in response to the escalating number of children with Influenza B symptoms seeking medical attention from health authorities.

As of this week, the Ministry of Health, (M.O.H) reported a total overall of 2,441 residents seeking medical help from Hospitals nationwide since the flu outbreak surfaced several weeks ago.

Samoa reports increase in influenza amongst children

The Director General of the Ministry of Health Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma confirmed this in a press conference where he also expressed his concern about the increased number of children affected with type B flu reports Tala Fou.

He said about 3 months ago a total of 1200 children were infected, however he said in comparison to 3 or 4 weeks ago the number has jumped to 250 children reported to the hospital per day.

He further said that in March, 1,915 children were reported to the clinic, but just last week the number has increased to 2,441

Samoa health authorities concerned about fever and rashes in children

The Ministry of Health said the symptoms are consistent with multiple illnesses including chickenpox and hand-foot-mouth-disease.

The ministry is investigating the cases saying they are contagious and spread quickly among children aged five years and under.

Chickenpox and Hand-Foot and Mouth disease are spread through person to person contact.

A local senior doctor, Esmay Judith Ah Leong also confirmed that a significant number of infants and children with chickenpox-like or varicella like lesions were admitted to her private clinic last week.

Can ‘good dirt’ protect your kids from asthma and allergies?

It began back in 1989, when a doctor named David Strachan observed younger siblings were less susceptible to eczema and asthma.   

He proposed it was because they were exposed to more unhygienic practices and infections, courtesy of their older brothers and sisters.   His theory became known as the hygiene hypothesis (now known by several other names, including the ‘old friends’ theory).

It’s valid to wonder about this link given New Zealand’s high rates of asthma compared to overseas. 

South Sudan: Thousands facing food insecurity as food aid cuts hit

The deaths occurred in a displacement camp in the northern Warrap state.

It comes after the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) said it had suspended rationing programmes in parts of the country due to a lack of funding.

In June, the body said it needed $426m (£352m) to continue distributing food.

But that aid has not been forthcoming as the international community has focussed on other overlapping crises, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Hepatitis detected in nearly 300 children worldwide

Health officials around the world are investigating a mysterious increase in cases of the liver condition which was first spotted in the UK.

A common virus called adenovirus, which has rebounded after the pandemic, could be causing the surge.

One death has been reported by the WHO.

As of 1 May, it said most cases of young children with hepatitis had been detected in Europe with small numbers also reported in the Americas, western Pacific and South East Asia.

Focus on Covid-19 vaccination for children in Samoa

The vaccination rate for that age group is 31.5 per cent.

Fiame said 93.9 per cent in that age group have received their first dose.

In her special address to the nation today, she said 91.9 per cent of the population aged 18 and over have received their two doses.

Those aged 12 to 17 who have taken both their doses account for 84.2 per cent.

Fiame said 59,759 booster doses have been completed.

Those aged 18 years and above make up 49.8 per cent.

Dan Carter takes on 24-hour kickathon for charity

Returning to Eden Park to launch his dedicated fundraising platform in association with UNICEF, the DC10 fund, Carter is taking on a 24-hour kickathon.

He is aiming to knock 1598 kicks between the posts in a period of 24 hours - matching the total number of points the first-five notched in his All Black career.

Funds raised from the event will be put toward UNICEF's water sanitation and hygiene programme for children in the Pacific.


Mariupol children bear the brunt of Vladimir Putin's war

He clutches a small yellow toy tractor but says nothing as specialist nurses monitor his condition. The Russian shell that blasted shrapnel into his belly also badly wounded his parents and grandparents as they tried to flee Mariupol. A victim of Putin's war and he's not yet three years old.

In the next bed to Artem lies 15-year-old Masha, also from near Mariupol. Her right leg was amputated after it was torn apart by the blast from a Russian shell last Tuesday.

Samoa Covid-19 vaccination roll out continues for children

The total represents 67.4 per cent of the eligible population in that age group.

Vaccinations for children aged between five and 11 started last week with the roll out targeting schools.

The ministry has suspended vaccination for those aged 12 years an above as they prioritise children between five and 11 years.

According to officials figures released by the ministry, as of yesterday (Thursday) 16 March, a total of 25,935 children between the ages of 12 and 17 years have been administered the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.